Gov. Brown Signs Bill to Enable Small Donor Reforms

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Emily Rusch

Vice President and Senior Director of State Offices, The Public Interest Network


Statement by Emily Rusch

“Our elections shouldn’t be about big checks, they should be about big ideas and finding the candidate who best represents their constituents. SB 1107 opens the door for small donor empowerment programs, permitting all cities, the county and the state to use public funds establish their own campaign finance solutions. 

“In 82% of the recent Congressional primaries nationwide, candidates who raised more money than their opponents won their election. Access to big money equally matters in local races as well. Money not only plays an outsized role in determining who wins elections, it also creates a huge barrier for well-qualified candidates without access to big dollars. 

“Under a small donor empowerment system, candidates who voluntarily opt in and agree to turn down large contributions receive limited public matching funds for each small contribution they secure. Combined with refundable tax credits for small contributions, these programs can encourage candidates to raise funds from a broad swath of their constituents and increase civic participation. We know these programs can work, and thanks to SB 1107, we are no longer prevented from implementing them in California.”

Read more in Emily’s recent op-ed in the Sacramento Bee.